Saturday, August 08, 2009

A New Decade

Today is the beginning of another decade in my life. Last weekend my sisters and their husbands traveled with my husband and I to Asheville, NC for an early celebration. One evening we decided to have an impromptu birthday party. During the festivities I was asked what my goals were in the next ten years. Without thinking, I said the first thing that came to mind. I want to do something that matters. I don't know where that came from. Maybe it was the two martinis, followed by several glasses of wine, or possibly just the emotion of turning another decade older. Regardless, the next morning the thought was still with me. I had rejected all of the ideas my siblings suggested the prior evening, but found I couldn't come up with any noble ideas of my own. Every idea I have seems to be restricted by the amount of money necessary to implement it, my circumstances or by my plain lack of skills to do the thing that I have envisioned.

What are your dreams? If money, skills or your circumstances were not the issue. What matters to you and what would you do?


Karen Beeching said...

This is a great blog, Diane. This same question was posed to me Thursday while I was in a class. If I have ten million dollars, etc. And then we wrote our life's mission statement. They told us to write for five minutes without pause what we saw to be our life's mission. Of course part of my mission was to write many books. What shocked me though, was the priority I put on my desire to affect other's lives with what I've learned, to help others realize their own goals and to inspire them to make those dreams attainable.

I've always known that is something I want to do, but I didn't realize what a huge chunk it is of my personal goal in life. I guess it's that "making a difference" thing.

Carla Swafford said...

Happy birthday, girlfriend!

My dreams are not to save the world (hopeless).

I want to get my books published so when I go to the next life, my "voice" will be left behind.

Diane Richmond said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I have an idea forming of what I see myself doing. I am going to look at this decade as a chance to begin again and reinvent myself. I am looking for a way to make a difference in someones life.

M.V.Freeman said...

I think this post is wonderful,it is very thought provoking!!

After spending much of my life mucking about, I have come to the conclusion the one thing I want to do is be creative. And if I could make a difference, I'd inspire others to "tell" their stories by writing, painting etc. By offering classes, places where people could practice their art. Retreats, and so on.

As for Money it does not give you happiness--it just gives you more options.

Cari Hislop said...

I agree with MV Freeman...I think money does just give us more options and that's not always good. I read this great book called The Paradox of Choice (highly recommend it) that goes into how the modern world offers us so many choices that it makes a lot of us unhappy without realising it (not that I'd turn down being a millionare). The multiple choices can short circuit our ability to choose well because we become overwhelmed. I think some people (I include myself) often use the 'if I had the money' scenario to block out all the things we/I could do right now if we/I really wanted to. As a day dreamer, I often imagine myself doing heroic acts which I would never do in real life...I think for me the trick to doing something memorable has to be something I can do in small increments...and preferably while I'm not daydreaming!

The first thing that came to my mind when I read your post was...if one can't do something large...then I could do something small in a big way. Actively doing some small kindness every day for a stranger for a decade would be huge. I'll never forget the stranger (I never saw his face) who walking by me while I was strugling in icy snow (it had half melted and then refroze to form sharp evil uneven icy lumps). I was having difficulty getting down the hill as I was weighed down with several heavy bags. I felt myself slip and start to fall and then a hand took hold of my upper arm and steadied me on my feet. He walked on before I could gather my wits to thank him. He might have saved me from ending up in a wheel chair or worse! I don't know what might have happened, but that one seemingly small act of kindness definitely changed my life. It always reminds me to do the little things because you never know when they're really big things in disguise. I have this personal rule now that if I think something nice about someone I have to tell them. It can backfire like the time I told this old woman she had beautiful eyes and she looked at me like I was planning to poison her for her savings and said, "What do you want?" I avoided her after that and I was no longer surprised when I heard that her children rarely went to visit her.
But I think for me...if I wanted to do something huge it will have to be something small done regularly and inbetween I can daydream about saving the world! ;)

Christine said...

Happy Birthday!! Woot!
I explored this topic a few times. I used to want to save children--and women-- from desolate lives--all of them. But I can't save them all by myself.

However, I can do small things every day--recognize a child and say something nice to them. Help a mom unload her grocery cart into her van at the end of the day so she can get her screaming child into the car and keep her wits about her, be kind to all who are in service jobs and tip them well, write books that inspire women to hold out for the right kind of hero who will empower and enrich their lives, stand up to bullies whenever I see them abusing their people in public (yes--I have done this--), support my sister writers in achieving their goals, support my daughter and her friends by encouraging them to follow their dreams and watch them grow, and I pray. I pray a lot. Cause not everyone is within my reach, but I believe they are within His.